Women's health

Daily drink may boost women's health later in life

Daily drink may boost women s health later in life More likely to enjoy good overall health

Women who have a daily drink may live to be healthier later in life, a new study claims.

US researchers found that middle-aged women who drank 15g or less of alcohol a day were more likely to enjoy "good overall health" when older, without chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, and free from any major mental or physical impairment.

The study, carried out by Harvard School of Public Health, looked at the alcohol consumption of nearly 14,000 female nurses who lived to be at least 70 years old, using data from the US Nurses' Health Study, which began in 1976.

Compared to women who did not drink at all, drinking between five and 15g of alcohol each day boosted a woman's chances of good overall health by 20 per cent, the study found.

In the UK, one unit of alcohol is 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol, equivalent to a standard measure (25ml) of spirits, half a standard glass (175ml) of wine or half a pint of ordinary strength lager or beer.

Regularly drinking moderate amounts of alcohol was better than having an occasional drink as women who drank five to seven days a week had an almost 50 per cent greater chance of good overall health when older.

NHS guidelines recommend that women should drink no more than two to three units of alcohol a day, and no more than 14 units of alcohol in a week. They also recommend keeping at least two days alcohol free.

In the journal PLoS Medicine the researchers concluded: "These data suggest that regular, moderate consumption of alcohol at midlife may be related to a modest increase in overall health status among women who survive to older ages."

This article was published on Wed 7 September 2011



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